Gritting Real

Feng Shui: It's a Science!

April ReneeFeng Shui — you’ve heard the term. As defined (in Chinese thought) it is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation to the flow of energy (qi) and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

In other words, it’s not just a design feature for your home. It’s a real scientific system consisting of complicated Binary systems of mathematics.

A home with good Feng Shui feels in balance. One feels more connected with oneself, one’s body and one’s surroundings.

By balancing the energy in your home or workplace, it raises the vibration for positive, balanced energy. You should always remember that your home is merely a reflection of what is happening in your life. When you feel connected with the elements in your balanced space, you will notice the natural elements supported in all that you do.

So, let’s break this down a little bit:

First, there is the Scientific aspect of Feng Shui. This is a Classical practice which is mathematical, calculating energy based on time and space.

The Intentional aspect is about what the home or business and artwork within says to you.

Lastly, the Energetic aspect involves a few things —

• A warm and peaceful feeling among the home or business
• Location of the dwelling
• Is the area quiet and safe?
• Shape and size of the structure and rooms (also take into account the direction of the structure’s face).
• Average temperature
• Lighting
• ALL FIVE senses must be engaged.

Don’t think it works? Be aware of your LUCK —

Heaven Luck — is also known as astrology or our natal chart. We’ve all experienced times when we felt like we were going against a river. And then there are other times when everything goes your way. It’s in these items when we feel like we have little, if any, control of our life and destiny — for good or bad.
Earth Luck — is the Feng Shui aspect of our success. Have you ever lived in a house that just seemed cursed? Perhaps as soon as you moved in everything seemed to go wrong. The energy flow in our home and land we live will have a direct impact on our own energy flow. This will in effect impact all areas of your life — from finances to love to health.
Human Luck — is the aspect in which we feel like our life is in our hands. We are in control. We have free will. Our fate is in our hands — at least 33% of it! The more we make conscious choices, intentions, thoughts, the more we will be in control of our Human Luck. Have you ever come across someone who just seemed to live life in default? They just took what life handed them. This is a case of not using their 33% of Human Luck.


As Feng Shui has become more accepted in the western world, there has been a tremendous amount of information and mis-information that has been released regarding this most ancient of arts —

Feng Shui has been practiced in the east for millennia, and while it may seem exotic and mysterious to westerners, it is really based on the most basic of premises; the fact that energy is all around us, every minute, and that it has a physical impact on our environment.

Consider that while scientists called these energies, collectively “qi”, in the west we know them better by names such as gravitational and magnetic fields, or as electromagnetic energy. We acknowledge that they exist, and we don’t hesitate to use them when it comes to technological advancements, but we tend to downplay the impact that these sorts of energies have on every aspect of our lives, at least we did until the introduction of quantum physics to the realm of scientific thought.

With the advent of quantum physics, the idea of all things being connected, of there being underlying forces that impact the physical world began to be accepted, and as the understanding of how these forces play out not just in everyday life, but on time and space as well, the parallels between quantum physics and traditional Feng Shui became more apparent.

The art of Feng Shui is quite literally, the ability to detect and correct the imbalances in the flow of these ancient energies through observation and repeatable calculations and the implementation of time-honored methodologies. Trained Feng Shui practitioners and masters go through intensive training to learn how to recognize imbalances and what to do about them when they detect them.

It’s time to give this age old technique a try in your home or office. I promise you will notice the benefits — if you pay attention ...

Feng shui

Photo by Fotolia/beibaoke

What Does GRIT Mean to You?

April ReneeIn a classroom full of brains, a professor wrote the word ‘GRIT’ on the white-board, “What is GRIT?” he continued as he turned to face several pair of eyes peering back at him. “What does it mean to you?”

You can imagine, with an open-ended question such as this, the answers that came forth were mixed in opinion and definition. Especially as our minds were gearing up for a math problem.

The thing is – the question didn’t have anything to do with GRIT! This was a statistics class after all … but it didn’t have anything to do with mathematics either. The professor was merely trying to get a reaction from the students. It was apparently that simple.

This got me to thinking though – why was a statistics professor concerned with the notion of GRIT? How was he about to incorporate this into a lesson that would hold any significance to the world of statistics? Not that I really knew anything about statistics anyway, but still … this was not what I was expecting on the first day of class.

No textbook had yet been assigned and there was no previous, dare I use the word, ‘mindset’ to describe the predisposed notion of what was to happen in the classroom on that first day.

words have power

Photo: words have power | Fotolia/kentoh

The rest of the brains in the class were having a hard time getting a grip on the question too. We were wondering where the math problems were.

So, I got down to the root of the definition in my own mind’s eye in knowing that I was writing for this blog. “Grit,” I said “is all about hard work.” Some students in the class thought about gritting one’s teeth, or sand, or otherwise they thought of the famous movie True Grit. The point is the opinions were mixed but not in the notion of different purposes.

As the hours of the lesson progressed, we gathered in groups and discussed our opinions of the questions at hand. We also discussed what the heck we thought the professor was up to in terms of presenting this question to us.

Take note here that we were now learning of the required materials for the class – The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Again, what would this story book have to do with math ? Or GRIT for that matter?

So, I came home to sit with the text in front of me and I think I’ve found the meaning – success depends on a lot of things … and the correlation is that success requires GRIT.

I discuss this here because I know what it takes to run a homestead. I’ve been in your shoes, most of you anyway, literally, I might have even worn them … I shop at thrift stores sometimes to save money.

There is more to my point here – the lesson plan is going to have something to do with statistics … it should be apparent to any of us in the class by now – and after the second lesson after that … but so anyway – What is GRIT? This got me to thinking too …. why is this website called What is the purpose of the definition? Methinks the definition that fits here best goes as follows: firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck!

Ha! These are all great words to describe the complexity of the one word at hand – the words mean something. They mean that you read this website because you’re looking for ideas on how to become a better person at what you do – whether it be a garden or running a ranch. Furthermore, you read my blog because – well, I don’t know why you would read this blog, because it’s here perhaps? Because I’m a new contributing author … because the topic piques your interest?

I’m here to tell you something, folks – I’m here to tell you lots of things and sometimes while it may not seem the topic has anything to do with what you’re dealing with at the homestead … I guarantee there is an underlying metaphor in which you can find depth.

For now – I suggest the required reading materials for this class. Words mean something, but statistics mean something too. Perhaps we can all benefit from this curriculum.



April ReneeIf everyone lived in harmony with nature, our footprints may not impact the planet the way they do within today’s global expansion. 

Our purpose is simple – live in peace. 

Harmony, love, goodwill toward men (and women) are what it's all about – but this is not a discussion about religion. Rather, this is a discussion about our own conservation efforts.  

While so many of us are concerned with the next politician’s righteousness or the neighbor’s shady side business, may we try examining ourselves. Individually. Each and every one of us. There is a whole collaboration of long lists of things that we can all do, every single day, in order to reduce our ecological footprint(s). 

footprints in the sand | Fotolia/Silroby

Photo: Fotolia/Silroby

This is a profound logic, really. One must gain an appreciation of the significance of their lifestyle even before engaging in a thought process that will manifest into something that allows for a reduction of impact upon the ecological systems.

Consider first, a seemingly simple, though complicated act in today’s society: our own food production/consumption practices. 

It is important to shop locally as often as possible. This is not only to benefit our surrounding communities, but also to drive down the impact of our (food) footprint throughout all the process and environmental factors that go into providing our foods. Local products travel a shorter distance to get to your plate, using less gas and limiting other monetary needs that go into distributing foods to consumers.

Compost already! If you’re not composting yet, what is holding you back? It’s really quite easy with many lasting benefits. Start with a large plastic bowl with a lid. Just about anything can be composted. Be creative with your mess. It’s only going to benefit your garden later down the line. Please keep in mind that just as it is best to avoid processed foods in your diet, such foods are best left out of the compost pile. 

compost | Fotolia/photka

Photo: Fotolia/photka

It's also documented that the vast majority of carbon emissions, typically around 80 percent, occur during food production. This means how your food is produced is the most important factor in your food footprint. 

Gardening is a great way to cut down on carbon emissions. Not to mention, in the long run, it will save you a bundle of cash.

vegetable gardening | Fotolia/hiphoto39

Photo: Fotolia/hiphoto39

These are just a few simple steps we can take as individuals and families. The complexity of this topic only permits a brief consideration of a few areas where we can reduce our own impact upon the whole of ecology. There are remedies that are apparent in today’s societal image, yet the ultimate comprehension is yet to be achieved.

Live in peace. We need to be paying closer attention to our own impressions in the sand, and the rest of the earth beneath the soles of our feet.

The concept of peace and harmony remains within our ability to comprehend. Every single step we take is another step in one direction (or the other).  

It is time for us to re-create the intimate nature of everything that peace entails. We need to abide by the harmony of compassion. Perhaps with a little dedication we can start walking alongside the path, cleaning it up as we go.   

Love the Earth and all the elements within everything that you choose. Walk steady in the sand. It is our own responsibility to ensure there is an earth for all to walk upon.


WikiHow: How to Have a Smaller Ecological Footprint

Shrink That Footprint: Shrink your food footprint

Rural Life CAN Be for Everyone

April ReneeThink of it this way… we all want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city from time to time. Even if you don’t live in the city, it’s nice to get away from home base. The hassle of vacationing to the wilderness however, can inhibit us from going at all. There’s packing the tent or the RV, the camping reservation … the list goes on.

Have you ever considered a tiny home?

 Westport THD
Illustration courtesy, Michael Janzen

These little houses come packed full of all the essentials, some of them even on wheels, so you and your family can enjoy a lifestyle in the wilderness. At least once in a while. Consider it your home away from home. Unless of course you would like to make a tiny house your permanent residence.

Westport Kitchen THD
Illustration courtesy, Michael Janzen

Tiny house living has grown in popularity over the past 10 years as more people have decided to downsize and step away from their urge to keep up with the Joneses. While these little homes are often less than 300 square feet, this does not mean you are forced to sacrifice. Many people actually lead simpler lives, connecting with family, friends and nature.

This style of living also naturally eliminates wastefulness making for a smaller carbon footprint. Everybody wants to reduce their carbon footprint!

Within the attractive home plans, these little homes are surprisingly functional with more space than one might imagine. The style of functionality is different from your standard home and makes it much easier to keep things organized.

You can do your own research or follow some of these links for reference to what you’re getting into should you decide to take the leap into Tiny House Living.

Rural life really can be for you too. It’s not about expensive mortgages and a garage full of cars. It’s about sustainable living.

Go ahead, take a look at those links (provided) and decide for yourself.

Tiny House Floor PlansFor more on tiny homes:

Tiny House Design – Free Plans

Bless This Tiny House – 10 Extreme Tiny Homes